Film: Dark Shadows
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter | 12A | 113mins
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s eighth outing together couldn’t be more suited to the kooky duo’s sensibilities – it’s a gothic-styled horror-comedy, adapted from a camp Seventies TV show, laden with fractured families, lost lonely young boys and all manner of witches, vampires and dark magic. It’s remarkably funny, too.
Depp is Barnabas Collins, a 18th-century vampire who has been freed from 200 years inside a coffin, the penance he paid for spurning Eva Green’s broken-hearted witch, Angelique. Awoken into 1972, he finds his once-prosperous family on the slide. Taking up with his descendants, he sets about getting the Collinses back on track, turning their coastal cannery business’s fortune around, only to find its decline has something to do with the broomstick-rider he rejected.
Depp is on song, his reactions to a world of hippies, McDonalds, lava lamps and Alice Cooper (the ugliest woman he’s even seen) are priceless, and many of the film’s best lines come from this culture-clash. Decent support comes from Michelle Pfeiffer as the modern-day matriarch, Chloe Grace Moretz as her hormonal teen, and Burton regular Helena Bonham Carter as a grogg-sozzled live-in psychiatrist (in this household, she’s definitely needed).
A couple of the plot strands are not quite fleshed out as much as you’d like – particularly the Collinses’ new governess (Aussie Bella Heathcote), who never gets the screentime needed for her pivotal role. But with Burton and Depp in such good form, it’s a hugely entertaining blast, loaded with the offbeat comedy you’d expect. 4 out of 5 stars.
Review by Alasdair Morton
Film: The Dictator
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris | 15 | 84mins
After Ali G and Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen is back with his latest comedy character, General Alladeen, a fictitious dictator of the Republic of Wadiya, who’s keen on opposing democracy, hating the West, and perpetuating/mocking Islamophobic stereotypes, depending on which side of the argument you sit. It’s bound to be squirm-inducingly funny as well.
On general release from May 16
Film: The Raid
One of the best action films of the last decade, The Raid is something of an oddity – a martial arts ass-kicking action movie, shot in Indonesia with an Indonesian cast, yet directed by ambitious Welshman, Gareth Evans. A bone-crunching punch-up that is stunt heavy/CG-free, this film will have you wincing, and marks Evans as hot property for the future.
On general release May 18
Theatre: South downs / The browning version
Commissioned as a companion piece to Terence Rattigan’s 1948 one-act The Browning Version, David Hare’s short new play, also set in a boys’ public school, takes place in 1962, around the time he himself attended a similar institution. Enjoyable, amusing and well-acted though it is, it can’t match the power of the older work. LK
SW1Y 4DN. Until Jul 21 | £15-£49.50
Tube | Piccadilly Circus
Theatre: Love, Love, Love
It’s easy for 19-year-olds to be seduced by the Beatles’ lyrics into believing all you need is love. But times change, and in Mike Bartlett’s bitingly funny, hugely watchable play, those free spirits of the late Sixties are still putting themselves first and refusing to grow up, almost 50 years later. Go see. LK
Royal Court Theatre
SW1W 8AS | Until June 9 | From £10
Tube | Sloane Square
Comedy: Freeze: with Tim Key and Tom Basden
For a three-night run only, Key and Basden (right) perform this unpredictable two-hander in
which music, comedy, props, improv and, probably, a little bit of lunacy, come to the fore. Both have won loads of awards individually, throw them together and you have a recipe for side-splitting entertainment.
Jubilee Gardens, SE1 8XX | May 17-19 | £15.50
Tube | Waterloo
Exhibition: Parallax Art Fair
Unrepresented artists from around the world exhibit their work at this global fair. From surrealist paintings and sculptures to ceramics encased in bubble wrap, reliefs composed from computer parts, and a video about child brides, the breadth and focus of the work on offer here impresses.
Chelsea Old Town Hall
King’s Road, SW3 5EE. May 16-18. £2
Tube | Sloane Square